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Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

" must display a direct and positive interest in the independence of small
nations . . . Britain must be opposed to the political dictatorship of the
strongest single State or groups of States at any given time/'
Churchill, the pride of Tory's England, was now the executor of these
precepts ; he had more than once quoted Sir Eyre Crowe in his speeches.
One of the most characteristic extracts from that memorandum in which
Germany was presented as England's rival (it had been written in 1907)
is quoted below. In 1943, at Teheran, when the preparations for the
burial of Germany were well under way, this £ rival' could almost have
become ' Russia.' By taking the liberty of substituting £ Russia 5 for
' Germany,' in Sir Eyre Crowe's memorandum, the following quotation
might well typify the state of mind of the British Prime Minister at
Teheran.*
"Is it right or even prudent for England to incur any sacrifices or see
other friendly nations sacrificed merely in order to assist . . . (Russia) in
building up, step by step, the fabric of a universal preponderance ? . . .
British Government(s) (have) agreed to make concessions and accept com-
promises which not only appeared to satisfy all (Russian) demands, but were
by the avowal of both parties calculated and designed to re-establish, if
possible on a firmer basis, the fabric of Anglo-(Russian) friendship . . . (But)
the action of (Russia) towards this country . . . might be likened not in-
appropriately to that of a professional blackmailer whose extortions are
wrung from his victim by the threat of some vague and dreadful consequence
in case of refusal. To give way to the blackmailer's menaces enriches him ;
but it has been long proved by uniform experience that., although this may
secure for the victim temporary peace;, it is certain to lead to renewed
molestation and higher demands after shortening periods of amicable for-
bearance. The blackmailer is usually ruined by the first resolute stand
made against his exactions and the determination to face all risks of a possible
disagreeable situation rather than to continue in the path of endless con-
cessions. But, failing such determination, it is probable that the relations
between the two parties will grow steadily worse.
" There is one road which, if past experience is any guide to the future,
will most certainly not lead to any permanent improvement of relations with
any Power, least of all (Russia), and which must, therefore, be abandoned :
that is, the road paved with graceful British concessionsóconcessions made
without any conviction either of their justice or of their being set off by
equivalent counter-services. The main hopes that in this manner (Russia)
can be c conciliated * and made more friendly, must be definitely given up.
Men in responsible positions, whose business it is to inform themselves,
and to see things as they really are, cannot conceivably retain any illusion
on this subject. (Russia) will be encouraged to think twice before she
gives rise to any fresh disagreement if she meets on England's part with an
unvarying courtesy and consideration in all matters of common concern,
but also with a prompt and firm refusal to enter into any one-sided bargains
or arrangements and the most unbending determination to uphold British
rights and interests in every part of the globe. There will be no surer or
quicker way to win the respect of the (Russian) Government and of the
(Russian) nation."
* Crowe;, Eyre^ Sir3 Memorandum on the Present State of British Relations with
Germany.
203